As the Dark Lady left the island of Kuskarosa and navigated to open water, our heroes emerged from the fog. Not only did they feel like their powers had returned to normal, they also felt more like themselves. The fog had disoriented and detached their thoughts as well as their magic.
A week into the journey, the ship stopped abruptly in the night. Elrathia awoke and could feel no swelling of waves or rocking of ship. Above deck, Seripathia, crew, Elrathia, Stangil, and Serafina saw that time itself had paused. The ship was frozen at an upward angle, the distended waves were stretched but not crashing. The surface of the water was hard.
Something bumped the ship, tilting it further and throwing some of the crew onto the the water. A dragon flying above the clouds dipped below them and lurched toward the ship. A sea serpent came out of the water and battled the dragon.
When asked what was going on, Seripathia answered, “it’s a memory.” Stangil and several crew members hacked at the sea serpant’s tentacles on the ship. After several moments, both creatures faded and time resumed. The ship swayed and Elrathia was thrown overboard into the again rolling ocean. She and others were retrieved, but a few were lost.
Seripathia explained that scenes like this played out before sailors, but never before with this intensity. They believed that it had something to do with the humans being aboard.
For most of the voyage, Stangil remained in his room with Julian, preferring to stay out of Seripathia’s path.
Elrathia, when not violently seasick, enjoyed the company of Seripathia and the two had a long conversation.
Belaric pulled Serafina aside and revealed a plan he hatched to uncover Seripathia’s suspected tattoo. Unsure about the plan’s effectiveness, Serafina asked him to wait and promised to try to speak with Seripathia one more time.
Again, a conversation with Seripathia proved frustrating and useless to Serafina. She gave Belaric the signal to go ahead if he was still determined.
Sometime later, Belaric knocked on Serafina’s door. He had a cut below his eye and a bloody nose. He had seduced Seripathia and taken ipecac to induce sickness as an excuse to leave. The dose was far too powerful and an unexpected suddenness overcame him. He was, however, successful in his mission and relayed that Seripathia bore the tattoo for Somnambuliss. Serafina seemed to take the most enjoyment hearing that he had thrown up on Seripathia.
While Serafina cleaned Belaric up, Seripathia paid Elrathia a visit. Enraged at the disrespect and betrayal that Belaric had displayed, she demanded that disciplinary action be taken and that Belaric remain in his cabin for the remainder of the trip.
After three weeks at sea, sailing around the coast, they came upon the port town of Breakwater. Seripathia said goodbye to the humans. Stangil and Serafina were eager to leave. Kalamos, the portmaster, greeted them happily. He was very hospitable as he showed them to his villa where they were given rooms, fresh fruit, refreshing drinks, running water, and personal servants.
Presently, they were revived and ready to explore the market. Elrathia, Serafina, Stangil, Belaric, and Arianna went out. Serafina brought her servant, Piala. They bought silk, linen, candy, fruit, and all manner of foreign and interesting goods. Just as in Kuskarosa, the Drekar eyed them with wonder and suspicion. The mysterious humans stood out.
They split up to pursue different objectives. Belaric, Serafina, and Arianna explored various bars. Stangil went to the smithy to talk shop with the blacksmith, Borund. Elrathia ran an errand and returned to the villa to have dinner with Kalamos and his family. She asked about Archon Toth and learned a little about the Toth family.
Arianna was asked to leave an establishment after having sliced the ear off a patron who had invaded her space. Shortly after that, Stangil met upw ith Serafina and Belaric. Shots were lined up on the bar and Serafina lit them on fire, with more steadiness and accuracy than she had in Voltierra. The bar went silent when Elrathia appeared in the doorway, dressed to the nines. That silence was broken when Stangil and Serafina cheered and invited her over to drink with them.
Unbeknownst to our heroes, from the moment they had stepped off the Dark Lady, they had been followed. Their stalker, Kraikos, and twelve of his aides had observed them all day.
Stangil overheard two off-duty guards discussing a Fey’oth fleet approaching and the port being locked down. Quickly, he, Elrathia, and Serafina devised a plan to uncover more information at the lighthouse. The drunken guard was obstinate about taking them to the lighthouse when Kraikos stepped in.
Kraikos offered to help the humans get to the lighthouse. Blinded by the emergency, no one paused to inquire about Kraikos’s potential motives. On the way, Elrathia stopped to warn Seripathia about the Fey’oth ships.
The lighthouse guards were tough to convince and in the interest of time, the humans accepted that only Elrathia and Serafina would be allowed to the top while a message was sent to Kalamos asking for permission. The two women could not discern a dot in the sky for Laredyth, but instinct told them that the Fimm Drekar were probably in the fleet.
Back on the ground, they discussed which of them should meet the fleet in open water and negotiate to spare bloodshed. It was decided that Serafina had the best rapport with Shykelith and Belaric had likeability so they would go alone.
Kalamos agreed to loan a small skiff and skeleton crew for Serafina and Belaric. He had the port opened for them and after they exited, Seripathia and the Dark Lady sailed south.
As the skiff drew closer to the Fey’oth fleet, the crew became visibly nervous. The Fey’othean war ships towered over their small vessel. One ship was adorned with a black five-pointed star on a white field, indicating the Fimm Drekar. Serafina directed the captain to approach that ship carefully as the other Fey’othean ships positioned themselves in an arc around the small craft.
Serafina and Belaric paddled a small rowboat to the large ship and boarded. Serafina was pleasantly relieved to be face to face with Shykelith once again. Skykelith grabbed her up in a giant hug and Serafina knew they were safe for the moment.
Shykelith informed her that there was open conflict between the two nations over the human city Aesteryl. Serafina explained that they had been taken to Kuskarosa and made a promise to go to Archon Toth. They intended to keep their word and then make their way to Fey’oth to meet with Kalloruth. This news disappointed Shykelith because she wanted to take the humans with her to keep safe again but she seemed to understand duty. She let Serafina know that no matter what, the town’s fate had been decided. Serafina entreated Shykelith to leave the innocent people of the town unharmed, but it did not move her. Shykelith gave Serafina one day to discuss with Elrathia and Stangil.
Before Serafina and Belaric departed, a familiar furry face bounded out to greet them. Naoira had grown into a gangly, awkward cat but remembered Serafina. Shykelith also offered to return the human’s belongings that had been left behind when Seripathia captured them. Serafina only took the half that was intended for Voranyth and explained that the tribute for Kalloruth would not be diminished.
A quick discussion with Elrathia and Stangil revealed their collective resolve to fulfill their word to Reikasha and travel to Archon Toth, quickly. Kalamos was warned but stubbornly refused to evacuate the town. There was no easy path to safety and many would die en route. He was going to remain and instruct the town’s defenses. Before leaving, Stangil stopped by the smithy to warn Borund. Borund’s only request was to speak with Belaric before they departed.
Serafina and Stangil decided to attempt contacting Somnambuliss and went to bed. Both awoke in a heavy fog and neither were surprised to see Somnambuliss sitting in the corner of the room. They asked for his guidance, whether he preferred they travel to Toth, then Voranyth, or join the Fimm Drekar. Somnambuliss said that he wanted them to choose. He removed them from the tapestry of fate so that he would not know what happened to them. Serafina took this to mean that they were merely his entertainment and asked, “why did you choose us?” Somnambuliss answered that he had chosen thousands throughout time. Feeling even less special, Serafina deferred to Stangil for the remainder of the dream. Somnambuliss changed the topic and asked how Julian was. He followed up by asking Serafina about Belaric. At her curt reply, he said, “does it matter that he dies for you?” Stangil was tenacious in his attempts to obtain guidance but to no avail.
As soon as Stangil and Serafina awoke, there were knocks on their doors and Kraikos’s men informed them that the group was ready to depart. Kraikos led his men and the human party east toward the mountains. There were four strangers with them; a woman and three teenagers. They were Borund’s family.
On the road, Stangil found Serafina distanced from the rest of the pack and pledged to do whatever he could to protect Belaric. Elrathia and Belaric also sought to understand why Serafina was brooding (again) but were both brushed off. In the meantime, attempting to right some impropriety and hastiness, Kraikos handed Elrathia, Stangil, Serafina, Arianna and Belaric offerings he had bought the day before. Not only had he been gathering information about them, he had tried to choose appropriate gifts.
The first night after leaving Breakwater, Kraikos had a dream. Somnambuliss came to him and warned of danger foreseen on their journey to Archon Toth. He offered Kraikos assistance in return for friendship. Kraikos seemed tempted by the offer, but declined when asked to kneel. He resisted the friendship and refused Somnambuliss.
The next day, Serafina told Elrathia about her part of the conversation with Somnambuliss. Elrathia tried to assuage her by offering alternative interpretations and suggesting that perhaps Serafina had the power to change it, given her removal from the tapestry of fate.
At this time, it occured to our heroes that they had blindly trusted Kraikos without learning anything about him. They discovered that he was the second son of Desrond Toth, Gauladek was his elder brother, and Sosyth was his younger sister. They told Kraikos of their encounters with his siblings and the last they knew of Gauladek and Sosyth’s whereabouts.
Arrows flew at them. Caught off guard, several members of the party, including Julian, were hit. Six archers were on the hill above them to the left and six more on the right. A monster, fourteen feet high was barrelling down on them. Stangil protected Julian, providing cover, while calling Elrathia to aid. An arrow entered Julian’s neck and angled down into his chest. Serafina quickly put up a wall of fire between the travelers and the archers and beast on the right. Belaric shot at the archers on the left. Arianna ran through the wall of fire and began slicing at the other archers. Kraikos and his men ran up the hill on the left and took out a few more.
The beast ran through the wall of fire. Serafina channelled combustion and he changed course toward her. Elrathia continued treating Julian while Stangil charged the monster. It was mid-stride when Stangil used it’s knee to boost himself higher up, jumping and swinging his axe down on it’s shoulder. In a single hit, the blade struck and dug down through ribs.
The others quickly dispatched the rest of the archers and Arianna dragged one back alive. Kraikos was somewhat taken aback by the sheer power the humans possessed.
Stangil returned to Julian’s side and Elrathia asked if he could remove the arrowhead. Speaking to the metal, Stangil was able to extract the arrow piercing Julian’s spine. Julian lived. Three others died.